Lewis Hamilton has taken to social media to deny claims about friction within Mercedes in the wake of his disappointing Turkish GP.
Lewis Hamilton has defended his outburst over the radio to his Mercedes team during the Turkish GP — saying it was “passionate” and “in the heat of the moment”.
The seven-time world champion lost his grip at the top of the drivers’ standings after a late precautionary pit stop in Istanbul on Sunday night dropped him from third to finish in fifth place.
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Max Verstappen regained top spot in the title race with his second-place finish while Hamilton was adamant he should have stayed out and not pitted in the vain hope of finishing in third.
There were a series of angry messages played out over the airways, as the 36-year-old claimed his decision was the right one.
“Why did you give up that place?” Hamilton said over team radio after the pit stop. “We shouldn’t have come in. I told you!”
But after the dust settled and a debrief on the flight home with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, Hamilton took to social media to play-down the flashpoint and says he is not angry at his team.
He wrote on Instagram: “I’ve seen some of the press this morning which has made a bit too much of the incident in yesterday’s race of when to pit.
“It isn’t true to say I’m furious with my team.
“As a team we work hard to build the best strategy possible but as the race progresses you have to make split decisions there are so many factors constantly changing.
“Yesterday we took the risk to stay out hoping it would dry, it didn’t.
“I wanted to risk it and try and go to the end, but it was my call to stay out and it didn’t work.
“In the end we did pit and it was the safest thing to do.
“We live and we learn. We win and we lose as a team. Don’t ever expect me to be all polite and calm on the radio when I’m racing, we are all very passionate and in the heat of the moment that passion can come out, as it does for all drivers.
“My heart and spirit are out there on the track, it’s the fire in me that’s got me this far but any angst is quickly forgotten and we talked it through, already looking ahead to the next race.
“Today’s another day to rise and as a team (sic). Still we Rise.”
Speaking after the race, Wolff stood by the decision to bring Hamilton into the pits for a fresh set of intermediate tyres and explained the thinking behind Mercedes’ strategy.
“The intermediate obviously looked really scary, but we thought that we could maybe hang out there and finish third with not stopping,” Wolff told Sky Sports.
“So we balanced between pitting, taking it very conservative, fighting with (Charles) Leclerc and (Sergio) Perez on the track for P3, or taking a little bit of a gamble and either winning or finishing third.
“Then we saw Leclerc dropping off and Lewis started dropping off and it was clear that we wouldn’t make it to the end.
“It was clear that if we stayed out he would have lost against (Pierre) Gasly in any case.
“I think that he in the car still felt good, but he was one-and-a-half seconds off the pace and would have anyway lost the position.
“The correct call would have probably been taking it very conservative and pitting when everybody pitted for the intermediate, coming out behind Perez, probably behind Leclerc and then fighting with them on-track for P3.
“DNFing and losing all the points, that’s obviously catastrophic. We would have been caught up by Leclerc and Perez anyway if we had tried to stay out, so that wouldn’t have worked.”
This article first appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission